AREA FISHING REPORT
Colder temperatures bringing in larger-sized specks
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 30, 2012 at 12:20 a.m.
Some freshwater anglers relish the first cold spells of the holiday season, certain that these will soon equate to slabs in their live wells.
Saltwater fans equipped to access shallow backwaters and near-shore flats along the lower Big Bend coast share this appreciation for early-winter cold fronts.
Both angling groups seem pretty happy right now. Reports this week, though, would indicate the salty crowd is having a bit more success than their crappie-seeking counterparts.
Speckled trout and redfish are almost always the primary objectives of near-shore gulf anglers. They are presently being located on grass flats and shell bars, in creeks, and in the rivers. And lately, some anglers have found specimens of eye-popping size.
Luke Tillman of High Springs fished Friday out of Horseshoe Beach with Dewey Holloway and Mike Carter. The three friends were having fun on the cool, calm morning casting lures at a school of bluefish when, “out of nowhere”, something larger took Luke's plug. Near the boat, they could see that it was a colossal speckled trout. Finally netted and in the boat, the big trout measured 27-inches.
Though they did not put the heavy-bodied beauty on a scale, they're convinced it weighed more than 6-pounds. I saw a photo of the fish and would agree. Gulf trout of this size are far from common, but most seem to show up during the colder months.
The Horseshoe area is apparently holding some outsize redfish, as well.
Friday morning, David Webb launched at the Horseshoe Beach public ramp. The first drifts he made on the grass flats had produced three keeper trout when, at slack low tide, he decided to try another area. While Webb was running at full speed across the clear flats a couple of miles from the boat ramp, the experienced Gainesville angler saw several large fish run from the moving boat. Recognizing the fish as drum, he spun around and eased back to the spot where they had been. There, he got a better look and saw that these were not black drum, but reds. The rod and reel he picked up had a topwater lure tied on. He fired it out and watched three fish follow it back to the boat…but none struck. The next cast, though, drew a huge wake and explosion, and the fight was on. After a long tussle, Webb boated, measured, and released the 40-inch redfish. The next two casts produced hookups that ended with straightened treble hooks. And then, the school of huge reds was gone.
Waccasassa Bay's creeks and grassy points also remain good spots to hunt for reds and trout. Friday, ten-year-old Georgia Clark hauled in four legal reds before her dad, David, hooked one. The Gainesville fifth grader cast gold spoons to make her good catches.
Wednesday morning, Brad Tschorn and Rick Pena fished near the Waccasassa River mouth with shrimp threaded onto jig heads.
The tide remained unusually low through the morning hours, but the Gainesville men located fish in a deeper trough between shell bars. At noon, they called it a day with ten nice trout up to 3-pounds.
But the Steinhatchee shallows might have yielded the consistently best trout reports of all. Tuesday, David and Daren Muntford and Todd Fitzgibbons arrived at Steinhatchee around noon.
Not much later, they were idling out of the Steinhatchee River aboard a Sea Hag rental boat. On the advice of marina personnel, the visitors from Macon headed north once they hit open gulf. Soon, they found abundant trout in shallow water off Clay Creek.
While live shrimp fished under Cajun Thunder floats attracted smallish trout on nearly every cast, Rapala Skitter Walk surface lures in the trout color drew larger strikes. After just three hours of fishing, the Georgia anglers returned with eight good trout up to 22.5-inches long.
When Orange Lake's level fell too low for most to access it a year or so back, it was among the most productive fishing lakes in Florida.
Understandably, through recent months, lots of fishers have been very interested in its state. And, finally, with the help of a wetter year and a mechanical trailblazer, a handful of positive fishing stories are again coming from the storied lake. Ronnie Brown and Jerome Williams launched Monday at Heagy-Burry Park on the Marion County side and had no trouble running the wide, recently cut trail through vegetation into open lake. The day was a breezy one, so the Gainesville men tucked behind a floating island and fished live minnows to bag 26 good-sized specks sporting unusually dark coloration.
Hopefully, Orange Lake is on its way back as a top fishery.
Gary Simpson, a veteran tournament angler, operates Gary's Tackle Box at L & S Auto Trim.
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